How to Become an HVAC Technician in Arkansas

A career in HVAC is a promising one for people interested in skilled trades. Technicians in this industry install, maintain, inspect and repair heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigerant systems. The number of jobs available is growing, and there is good demand everywhere, including in Arkansas, for qualified HVAC and refrigeration technicians. [Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Arkansas

If you’re interested in becoming an HVAC technician, here are the steps you need to take:

  • Get a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Enroll in an accredited HVAC training program
  • Pass the EPA Section 608 Technician Certification Exam
  • Find an entry-level job in the HVAC industry
  • Consider becoming a certified HVAC technician

HVAC techs in Arkansas must be licensed through the state. Those who work with refrigerants and heating systems also need to be certified through the federal government. Arkansas does not require any specific path to becoming licensed, but you do need to have either work experience or an appropriate education in HVAC, or both. The two common ways of getting that experience and working toward licensure and a career in HVAC are to complete a post-secondary educational program or to seek an apprenticeship for on-the-job training.

HVAC courses topics may include:

  • Gas heating systems
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Electric circuits
  • Construction technology
  • Air distribution

HVAC techs need to have a strong understanding of how HVAC and refrigeration equipment work in order to troubleshoot and repair them when they break down. Many programs will also require students to complete an internship as part of their curriculum, giving them the chance to get real-world experience before they enter the workforce.

While there are many schools that offer HVAC training programs, not all of them are fully accredited. That’s why it’s important to do your research before enrolling in any program to make sure that it will give you the education and skills you need to be successful in this field.

HVAC Schools in Arkansas

There are many technical colleges and trade schools in Arkansas that offer certification and associate degree programs in HVAC. These can be completed in as little as two semesters, although some students may choose to take longer if they want to earn a degree. Many of these programs include an internship or externship component so that students can get real-world experience in the field.

If you choose to earn a degree or diploma first, you may want to choose programs that are accredited by either the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) or HVAC Excellence.

The following HVACR certified technician programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET):

  • Arkansas State University, Beebe. The air conditioning technology program at the Beebe campus of ASU offers a proficiency certificate, a technical certificate and an Associate of Applied Science degree in General Technology. All of these take two years or less to complete. These programs are accredited by HVAC Excellence.
  • Arkansas Tech University, Ozark. In Ozark, students can choose to complete either a certificate program or a two-year associate’s degree program in air conditioning and refrigeration, both of which are accredited by HVAC Excellence. Students are prepared to begin working in HVAC positions and to seek licensure.
  • National Park College, Hot Springs. National Park offers students a different type of program. It is a three-year apprenticeship. Students are matched with a local company and learn on the job. They also take 160 hours of coursework.
  • Penn Foster. For students who cannot access the campuses in the state with HVAC programs, Penn Foster offers an online certificate program. It can be completed on your timeline and is more affordable than on-campus programs.

HVAC Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Technician in Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Licensing Board license HVAC and refrigeration technicians in the state. There are several licensure levels available:

  • Class A—All HVAC and refrigeration work with no limitations
  • Class B—HVAC and refrigeration work on systems that develop no more than 15 tons of cooling per unit or one million BTUH heating per unit
  • Class C—Allows work on systems as described in Class B, but no installation of new systems or replacement of old systems
  • Class D—Sheet metal work on ducts and HVAC systems
  • Class E—Refrigeration work, but no installation of HVAC systems

To qualify for HVAC and refrigeration licenses in Arkansas, individuals must be at least 18 years old, pass an examination and show proof of two years of work experience. Educational experience through approved programs can count for work experience.

Additionally, any HVAC techs working with refrigerants must be certified through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), per the Clean Air Act. To get EPA Section 608 certification you must pass a related examination.

Employment Opportunities and Salary Expectations

The salary data for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) in Arkansas, as compared to the national average, indicates that HVAC technicians in Arkansas earn an average annual salary of $45,750, which is below the national average of $51,390. The salary range in Arkansas extends from $30,830 at the 10th percentile to $63,360 at the 90th percentile, showcasing a range of earning potential based on experience, specialization, and other factors.

National vs. Arkansas Salaries for HVAC Technicians

Location Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
United States $36,170 $51,390 $82,630
Arkansas $30,830 $45,750 $63,360

Salaries by Region in Arkansas for HVAC Technicians

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
East Arkansas nonmetropolitan area $30,880 $39,670 $51,900
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO $33,500 $47,460 $64,260
Fort Smith, AR-OK $29,520 $40,150 $56,680

HVAC Trends in Arkansas

In Arkansas, the employment outlook for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) is positive, with a projected growth of 6% from 2020 to 2030. The number of employees in this occupation is expected to increase from 3,430 in 2020 to 3,620 by 2030. Annually, there are projected to be 350 job openings in Arkansas for this occupation during this period, which includes openings due to both industry growth and replacements. This growth rate aligns with the national average growth rate of 6% for the same period, indicating a steady demand for HVAC technicians within the state.

Employement Trends

Aspect Arkansas United States
Employment (2020 for AR, 2022 for US) 3,430 employees 415,800 employees
Projected Employment (2030 for AR, 2032 for US) 3,620 employees 438,800 employees
Projected Growth 6% 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030 for AR, 2022-2032 for US) 350 37,700

Sources of data:

  • For employment trends and projections: Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • For national employment and wage data: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2022-2032 employment projections.

Working as an HVAC Technician in Arkansas

There are many job opportunities for qualified HVAC technicians in Arkansas, but more jobs are available in and around Little Rock, Fort Smith, Fayetteville and Springdale. Contracting companies are the main employers of HVAC techs, although some people work for themselves or are hired by government agencies, schools and industrial companies.

Most HVAC technicians in Arkansas work full time, but some may be required to work evenings or weekends, especially those who are on call. Many employers offer health insurance and retirement plans as well as paid vacation days and holidays. Some HVAC techs belong to unions, such as the International Union of Operating Engineers.

If you are looking into an HVAC career in Arkansas, it’s a good choice. With just two years of learning and training you’ll be ready to get hired for one of the many available positions in the state.

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Get information on HVACR Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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How do I Become an HVAC Technician in Arkansas?

  • 1. Meet the minimum age requirement of 18
  • 2. Gain at least two years’ experience through an approved program or on-the-job training
  • 3. Pass your Arkansas licensing exam
  • 3. Apply for one of the state’s five classes of HVAC licenses

Does HVAC require a lot of math?

HVAC definitely requires a lot of math! You need to be able to calculate air flow, heat load, and plenty of other factors. Some people find HVAC math difficult, but Practice makes perfect! There are plenty of online resources and books that can help you hone your skills. With a little bit of effort, you can definitely master the necessary HVAC math.

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